By Lori Hanson
If you travel on any type of regular basis for work, meetings or even recreation you’ve developed a philosophy about your eating habits on the road. Many people adopt the “Wahoo, I’m traveling, it’s a picnic” attitude and then complain about gaining weight, not feeling good or why they can’t stick to their healthy lifestyle.
The other philosophy, and the one I subscribe to is that traveling is no different than home and just takes a little preparation and commitment. In order to eat healthy I have to plan. I have a bit of experience on this topic because I traveled for work from 1988-1993 and now as a professional speaker I travel regularly. For me the choice is a no-brainer because my health is a top priority.
It’s a simple choice: How do you want to feel? Do you want to feel energized and sleep well so you can wake up in a different time zone without it kicking your ass, or feel groggy from eating fatty foods, drinking too much and having desserts you don’t normally eat? The affects/rewards are immediate regardless of the path you choose.
Here’s five proven strategies for keeping on your healthy eating plan while traveling.
1. Plan snacks for the trip
Pack snacks that will cover you from the time you leave home until you reach your destination. If you’re flying, the airlines don’t offer food anymore (not much of a loss there) so you need to be prepared. I always carry snacks including, small carrots, almonds, apples, bananas, celery with almond butter and protein bars. This way I can keep my blood sugar in balance even if it’s any early morning flight.
2. Look for healthy options at the airport
If you have a layover and have time to eat at the airport. Search out the healthy options. They’re there. I’m vegan which makes it a lot more difficult, but is doable. Look for the stand that has fresh fruit, and breakfast options. Have an egg sandwich on wheat minus the cheese and bacon, and avoid the white bagel.
3. Stay hydrated
It’s important to drink water when you’re traveling to keep your body in balance. Instead of using coffee to keep you going, drink plenty of water and hot herbal tea. By eliminating the coffee (which dehydrates you) and fancy coffee drinks that are loaded with sugar, you’ll have more energy and a better attitude to deal with any little travel issues that may present themselves.
4. Be selective at restaurants and hotels
It is easy to eat healthy in most restaurants and hotels. The trick I learned years ago is to look for the a la carte menu items. You can get poached eggs with fruit or wheat toast instead of a fat-filled breakfast of bacon, a cinnamon roll and scrambled eggs with cream and cheese in them. Most hotels and restaurants have oatmeal which you can order (minus the brown sugar) with fruit and yogurt for a nicely balanced breakfast.
For lunch order a nice salad with baked or grilled turkey, chicken or fish and ask for olive oil and fresh lemon on the side for your dressing. At dinner request a baked potato plain (it’s really tasty) ask for salsa if you need something to excite your potato taste buds. Request your vegetables steamed vs. slathered in butter. Order lean protein (broiled or grilled fish, chicken or turkey breast) to round out your meal. Skip the dessert. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, ask for fruit and enjoy with some hot herbal decaf tea. Notice how you feel the next day when you wake up.
5. Avoid or limit alcohol
If you have cocktails before dinner or have alcohol with your meal limit it to 1-2 glasses. Remember that wine has a high level of sugar and those empty carbohydrates and calories quickly add up and beer…well they don’t call them beer bellies for nothing. If you’re goal is to lose or maintain your weight, order something white like vodka or gin and mix with cranberry, orange or grapefruit juice instead of soda.
By using these strategies you can remain alert, feel good and have fun throwing your goals for a healthy lifestyle out the window. If you decide to splurg on something, keep it to one meal and get back on your healthly lifestyle goals the next meal. When you return home, you’ll feel great knowing you honored your commitment to taking care of yourself.
If you’d like to start balancing your lifestyle you can get help here.